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June 17, 2008


Fund Established to Foster Programs at Cathedral Basilica

Reverend Monsignor James J. Howard, Rector Emeritus of the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter & Paul, will receive the inaugural Keys and Sword Award at a luncheon June 29 at the Sheraton Hotel.
Proceeds will go toward the establishment of the "Keys & Sword Fund" to foster programs highlighting the Sacred Music and Visitors Programs and strengthening the artistic and historical significance of the Cathedral to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia.

Sunday, June 29, 2008
11 a.m. Mass, Luncheon to follow
The Sheraton Hotel
17th & Race Streets
Philadelphia, PA

The Keys & Sword Award of the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul is named after the symbols of the patron saints of the Cathedral. The award, bestowed by the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is being established to recognize individuals whose actions reflect the Gospel values of faith, valor, selfless service, personal sacrifice and commitment to others and the community.

"Monsignor Howard is legendary as a priest of Philadelphia," said Monsignor Michael T. McCulken, assistant vicar for administration and rector of the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul. "His long tenure as rector of the Cathedral Basilica and his dedication to offering spiritual assistance to police and fire fighters over many decades are two hallmarks of his priestly service to the Lord Jesus and the Church. His easy manner and interest in people's spiritual welfare has endeared him not only to parishioners, but to all who have received his priestly ministry."

Biographical information: Msgr. Howard is the longest serving rector in the history of the Cathedral Basilica, spanning 27 years from 1973 to 2000. While rector, he was instrumental in having the Cathedral designated a Basilica after the 41st International Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia in 1976. Prior to 1973, Msgr. Howard served as principal at Cardinal Dougherty High School from 1968-73, after eight years on the Dougherty faculty. He previously taught Theology at Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill. During his tenure as rector, Msgr. Howard was chaplain of the League of the Sacred Heart of the Police and Fire Departments of Philadelphia; the Police Chiefs' Assn. of Southeastern Pa.; the Phila. Serra Club for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life; and served on the Boards of Hahnemann Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital and Roman Catholic High School.

To become a sponsor or reserve tickets ($75) online go to

Kevin Mulligan
Associate Director for Communications

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